Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

It was shortly after 5:30 p.m. when a 74-year-old Bangor man was struck by a tractor-trailer as he crossed the street, headed to an early evening Sunday service in Brewer.

The man suffered critical injuries as a result of the impact, which rendered him unconscious, though he continued to breathe and maintained a heartbeat in the immediate aftermath. Large gashes to his head, knees and elbows were visible to first-responders.

It’s accidents like this that Portland officials are looking to combat with a bid for some $10 million in transportation funding for projects to revamp city streets, intersections and pedestrian pathways. These projects would ideally incorporate smart road designs that would make them safer for everyone who travels in the area.

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Officials with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) and the New England Passenger Authority (NNEPRA) will be working together for some research work to develop and test new trespass detection and deterrent technologies. They will be researching high-risk areas along the Amtrak’s Downeaster rail line and the Pan Am Railway in the Brunswick area. Their goal is to find a way to successfully mitigate trespassing in these areas.”Illegal trespassing is the number one cause of rail-related fatalities in the United States,” said Governor Paul R. LePage.

Our Portland railroad accident attorneys understand that the number of pedestrian railroad deaths is on the rise. According to a recent article from St. Louis Today, the number of pedestrian fatalities at railroad tracks increased by more than 25 percent during the first five months of 2013, compared to the same time period in 2012. During this time, in 2013, there were close to 200 fatalities witnessed across the nation, compared to 158 during the same time in 2012.

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As the winter thaw gives way to spring, more pedestrians will be out on the roads in Maine this summer. This means that drivers of cars and other motor vehicles need to start keeping their eyes open for walkers and joggers in order to avoid a potentially disastrous accident.

Our Bangor pedestrian injury attorneys know that there are lots of safe walking areas for pedestrians. However, there are also some dangerous areas where pedestrians could be at higher risk of getting hurt in a crash. In fact, any time drivers and pedestrians are sharing a road together, there is a risk. We urge pedestrians to stay safe and to ensure they are walking only in safe areas and we urge drivers to treat pedestrians with respect on the roads.

Pedestrian Safety Tips
The best safety tip for walkers is that those who are walking for pleasure or for fun should consider doing so on designated trails and off-road areas, far from cars that could present a danger. The MaineDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program has made it a mission to ensure that pedestrian infrastructure is strong in the state and the Program uses federal funding to facilitate safety initiatives and improve the community environment by building pedestrian projects.

According to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Yearly Report, a number of sidewalks and trails were completed throughout the Bangor area last year in order to improve safety. These include sidewalks on Odlin Road as well as the creation of a new paved pedestrian and bicycle trail near Bath Commercial Street.

Pedestrians who walk on designated trails and designated recreation areas won’t have to worry as much about being hurt by negligent drivers of cars nearby, so those who walk for fun or exercise may wish to review the information from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program to find safe places to walk.

Pedestrians should also wear bright colored clothing, avoid walking at night whenever possible and never walk when intoxicated, as this can up the risk of a pedestrian accident occurring.

Drivers Help to Keep Pedestrians Safe
While some pedestrians may be able to stay on recreational trails, others are going to need to walk on roads that are shared with cars. In these situations, the drivers of the passenger cars play the biggest role in ensuring the pedestrians are safe.

Drivers of cars should ensure that:

  • They check carefully for pedestrians in designated crosswalks and intersections.
  • They drive at or below the speed limit depending upon weather conditions so they can stop in time if they encounter a pedestrian
  • They exercise extra caution when driving through residential neighborhoods where children might be outside
  • They yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when it is the pedestrian’s turn
  • They refrain from driving while they are distracted or while they are too tired to pay attention
  • They refrain from driving while intoxicated or impaired by either alcohol or drugs

A driver who makes a wrongful or negligent choice when encountering a pedestrian can be held legally liable for any injuries that the pedestrian may suffer in the resulting accident.

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Over the last 10 years, the number of pedestrian deaths across the country has been decreasing ever so slightly, according to The Washington Post. But the increase in 2010 shows that pedestrian accidents remain a stubborn constant, even as the overall number of traffic fatalities has continued to decrease.In 2010, there were approximately 32,890 traffic accident fatalities in the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 15 percent of these fatalities, or about 4,500 traffic deaths, were of pedestrians.

That means that a pedestrian was killed in the U. . every two hours and another was injured every eight minutes.

Our Portland pedestrian accident attorneys understand the risks. Unfortunately, many of the streets in the area are designed solely for fast-moving traffic. Pedestrians have to fend for themselves along these roadways. While most fatal pedestrian accidents happen at night, we’re asking all drivers to be on the lookout for walkers at all hours of the day.

The accidents were also most likely to happen when weather conditions were clear. Let’s be honest. There aren’t typically a lot of people strolling the streets when it’s raining or snowing out. That means the fall tourism season in Maine will be among the riskiest time of the year for these types of accidents.

Alcohol was also a common factor in many of these accidents. A driver under the influence accounted for about 15 percent of these fatalities and a walker under the influence was involved in about 35 percent of these fatalities.

More than 50 percent of the 47,000 pedestrians who were killed from 2000 to 2009 were killed along principal or minor arterials. These are the straight, wide roads that are extremely hostile to pedestrians, according to Transportation For America.

The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) is here to offer some safety tips to pedestrians to stay safe out there.

Pedestrian Safety Tips:

-Never assume that a motorist sees you. Many times, fatal pedestrian accidents are the result of drivers simply not seeing pedestrians along our roadways.

-Wear brightly-colored clothing and reflective materials when watching at night.

-Stay out of a driver’s blind spot.

-Never let kids walk by the streets alone.

-Always cross at a crosswalk.

-Make sure that you have enough time to cross the street. If you feel like there’s any chance you’ll have to rush, sit back and wait. There’s no hurry to get across the road. Wait for a sizable gap in traffic, or for the traffic light, before attempting to cross.

-Before crossing, stop, look left, look right, and look left again and then cross.

-Walk in a predictable manner.

-At traffic lights, you always want to wait for the white WALK sign before crossing.

-Plan your walking routes to include safe intersections and large sidewalks.

-Use more that your eyes. Listen to passing traffic to increase your awareness of your surroundings.

-Avoid walking with distractions. Keep the headphones off and the phones away. You want to be able to react to any and all road hazards on the drop of a dime.

-Walk defensively. Don’t assume that motorists know that by law, pedestrians have the right-of-way. Many of them don’t.

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As all of the zombies, ghosts, goblins and mummies head out for some neighborhood trick-or-treating adventures, there’s another scary monster lurking in the dark — child injury in Portland, Maine. It’s true. Halloween is one of the most dangerous times for children to be out and about. Their risks for a pedestrian accident are higher during this time that during any other time of the year.Don’t worry. The South Portland Police Department and our Bangor, Maine, personal injury attorneys are here to share some tips for parents and little monsters to remember while celebrating Halloween.

Parents who are supervising young trick-or-treaters and those who are able to roam the neighborhood alone should always plan their trip before heading door to door. Everyone should plan a route that is safe — one that isn’t along any major roadways, has sidewalks or safe shoulders, is well lighted and has safe crossing areas. Trick-or-treaters of all ages should have a curfew. The later it gets, the more dangers and risks we face for a pedestrian-car accident.

Tips to avoid a pedestrian accident this Halloween:

-Try to you make yourself and your little trick-or-treaters as visible to motorists as possible. You should wear reflective tape on your costume or carry a flashlight.

-Look left and right before and during your trip across a road. Although drivers should be on their best driving behavior, you must take it upon yourself to walk cautiously.

-Never trick-or-treat alone.

-Never go into a stranger’s house or car.

-Suit your child in comfortable shoes and make sure that all costumes are short enough to prevent a trip and fall hazard.

-Do not trick-or-treat at houses with no lights on.

Candy rules:

-Never allow children to snack on candy as their trick-or-treating. Make sure they eat dinner before heading out so they’re less tempted to snack.

-Examine all candy as soon as you get home. Make sure none of the candy has been opened or tampered with. If you see a piece in question, throw it away.

-Consider handing out non-food items like spider rings, bubbles, toothbrushes, etc.

Halloween at home:

-Make sure that all trip hazards are cleared from driveways, sidewalks and front porches.

-Be sure to wipe up any wet surfaces so that trick-or-treaters are less likely to slip and fall.

-Be sure that all lights are on and working proper outside the front of your house.

-Never leave a lighted pumpkin unattended.

We can all have a safe and fun Halloween if we follow these few safety rules. Motorists are urged as always to be cautious in residential areas, especially during dusk on the 31st. Be sure to keep a lookout for monsters on the roadway to prevent a scary car accident. Be safe and have a Happy Halloween!

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The International Walk to School Day started back in 1997 and since then millions of people across the globe have come together to help reduce the risks of pedestrian accidents in Maine and elsewhere each October. In 2002, the largest number of participants was recorded at approximately 3 million for the event.There are many reasons to participate in this year’s events. Walking promotes a healthy lifestyle, it helps to reduce the amount of pollutants let off by motor vehicles and it helps to raise awareness about the need for more accessible sidewalks, pathways and safer intersections.

Our Portland pedestrian accident attorneys understand that pedestrian safety has been a frequent topic of conversation among safety advocates. Back in 2005, legislation was passed to help everyone understand the importance of safe pedestrian travel. Through this legislation and through the Safe Routes to School program, federal funding is distributed to states for safe traveling programs and for the construction of safer roadways. However, none of the contributions mean anything without the cooperation of motorists and pedestrians across the nation. This event helps to gain the cooperation from individuals across the state.

Schools that are participating in this year’s event include:

-Hichborn Middle School

-Troy Central Elementary School

-Monroe Elementary School

-Morse Memorial Elementary School

-Walker Elementary School

-Mt. View Elementary School

-Mt. View Middle School

-My. View High School

-Madison Elementary School

-Atwood Primary School

-Blue Point School

-Brown Elementary School

-RSU 3

-Mount Desert Elementary School

-Mahoney Middle School

Each school is participating in different ways. Some schools are hosting mile long walks/runs during school hours. Others are dropping school bus riders off a mile away from school and having everyone walk to school together. Others have simply applied for some of the federal funding so that students can have safe ways to make it to school.

Approximately 11,500 schools across the county have already received federal funding to help create safer routes to school. Maine is hoping to receive some of this funding during the 2011 campaign. Safe sidewalks and crosswalks could be constructed at a number of our local roadways to help keep our school-aged pedestrians safe. The truth of the matter is that far too little funding is spent on pedestrian safety.

“Enabling and encouraging safe walking and biking to school is important for transportation, health, and safety in communities throughout the State,” said Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) Commissioner David Cole.

The MaineDOTsencourages you join this year’s events to:

-Help to reduce traffic congestion and speed limits near schools and in school zones.

-Help to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing vehicular traffic.

-To help to improve classroom performance and behavior.

-To improve socials networks amongst students and to increase the bond between students and teachers.

-To teach children safe pedestrian and bicycling behavior and habits.

-To help build students’ self-confidence and independence.

-To help reclaim the streets for safer walking and biking instead of for speedy vehicularstraffic.

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As we work our way out of the harsh winter, we look forward to Spring and the warm weather activities that we enjoy. As we move the clocks forward this weekend, our days will begin to get longer. As the weather gets warmer, we are bound to see more bicyclists and pedestrians on the roadways. And, of course, summer tourist season is just around the corner.

Our Maine personal injury lawyers want to remind motorists to keep an eye out for cyclists because it only takes a split second of distraction to find yourself involved in a crash. Negligent drivers can cause serious injuries to victims in Bangor bicycle accidents and bicycle and pedestrian crashes elsewhere in the state.The U. . Department of Transportation recently published the 2009 data on bicycle accidents. In 2009, there were a total of 630 cyclists killed nationwide, and another 51,000 injured. Cyclists accounted for approximately 2% of all traffic injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle crashes for 2009. The highest percentage of cycling fatalities occurred in urban areas (70%), non-intersections (67%), and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. (29%).

The average age of cyclists killed in 2009 was 39. However, bicyclists under age 16 accounted for 13% of cycling fatalities and 20% of those injured in 2009 motor vehicle crashes.

The good news is Maine reported no fatalities for cyclists in 2009. The bad news, cycling accidents are unpredictable and can occur at any time so motorists need to be on guard at all times. One way to reduce the risk of a bike accident is to not allow yourself to get distracted behind the wheel. Cyclists are often hard to spot or come from nowhere so getting distracted increases the chances of an accident dramatically.

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety urges cyclists to wear a helmet. It is a state law that anyone under age 16 is required to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Failure to wear a helmet increases the severity of the possible head and spinal cord injuries that can occur. It is reported that most fatalities related to bicycle accidents are from head injuries. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85% in most cases.

The Bureau of Highway Safety offers the following tips when fitting a helmet to purchase:

-Purchase a helmet made specifically for cycling. It must be approved by ASTM, CSA or Snell.

-The best way to measure comfort is to try on several helmets. Helmets are padded differently so some may be more comfortable and fit better than others.

-The helmet must cover the forehead and the chin strap should be adjustable so that it fits tight enough to keep your helmet from moving on your head.

-A light-colored helmet stands out better and is easier to spot than a dark-colored helmet.

-Your helmet should not move in any direction on your head. Movement from side-to-side or back-to front will not provide the proper safety if an accident occurs.

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On November 9 and 10th, the National Transportation Safety Board hosted a forum to discuss issues relating to highway safety and our aging population. A webcast is archived on the N.T. .B website.

An interview with Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the N.T. .B., was published on November 17th, 2010 in The New York Times blog “The New Old Age”, (see full article here). The forum revealed that recent statistics have surprised researchers. For example, while the number of fatalities has dropped across the board, drivers over 70 have had an even higher drop in the rate of fatal crashes. People are living longer and are also healthier as they age. Ms. Hersman concludes that age alone is not a sufficient factor for determining continuing eligibility to drive, but that states need to consider alternatives such as additional testing or shortened periods before renewal of a license.

Maine considers a driver elderly when he or she is over 65 years of age. The DOT has published resources to assist residents who are dealing with the issue of aging and driving on their website.

A recent post to this blog was about a tragic accident which killed two teenage girls. Such news makes one consider teen and inexperienced drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more teens are killed every year by car accidents than by any other cause. In Maine, the statistics are equally disturbing. According to the Secretary of State,

“•Nearly one young driver is killed each week in Maine;

•More than 60 young drivers are injured each week in Maine;

In Maine, there is a potential intersection of the workers’ compensation and personal injury systems when the injury is caused by a third party.

Generally, if you are injured at work, regardless of the cause, you are compensated for that injury entirely through the workers’ compensation system. However, did you know that if a party other than your employer is responsible for the injury, you may also have a separate claim against that party?

For example, if you were driving a vehicle as part of your job and were injured in an accident caused by another driver, you have both a workers’ compensation claim and a claim against the other driver.

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